Early Church

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Guide Questions: Early Church History

1. Discuss the beginning and the ending of the Roman Empire. In what ways did the Empire conquer and control? * The republic formed around 500 BC and around 100 BC it started to drift toward a dictatorship, 27 BC-180 BC Roman Empire held peace, a decline set in around 200 BC. Under Constantine Ist (306-337) he moved the capital to Byzantine, renamed Constantinople. Theodosius(379-395) last ruler of the united empire. From 376-410 the Goths (Ostrogoths and Visigoths, later) attacked and sacked Rome. Last Western emperor abdicated in 476.

What was the downfall of the Roman Empire?
* The invading army reached the outskirts of Rome, which had been left totally undefended. In 410 C.E., the Visigoths, led by Alaric, breached the walls of Rome and sacked the capital of the Roman Empire.

* The Visigoths looted, burned, and pillaged their way through the city, leaving a wake of destruction wherever they went. The plundering continued for three days. For the first time in nearly a millennium, the city of Rome was in the hands of someone other than the Romans. This was the first time that the city of Rome was sacked, but by no means the last.

* One of the many factors that contributed to the fall of the Roman Empire was the rise of a new religion, Christianity. The Christian religion, which was monotheistic ran counter to the traditional Roman religion, which was polytheistic (many gods). At different times, the Romans persecuted the Christians because of their beliefs, which were popular among the poor.

2. Research the Apostle Paul’s three missionary journeys. List the dangers he faced on each and the progress he made in spreading the Gospel.

First missionary journey
The author of the Acts arranges Paul's travels into three separate journeys. The first journey,[Acts 13–14] led initially by Barnabas, takes Paul from Antioch to Cyprus then southern Asia Minor (Anatolia), and back to Antioch. In Cyprus, Paul rebukes and blinds Elymas the magician[Ac 13:8–12] who was criticizing their teachings. From this point on, Paul is described as the leader of the group.

They sail to Perga in Pamphylia. John Mark leaves them and returns to Jerusalem. Paul and Barnabas go on to Pisidian Antioch. On Sabbath they go to the synagogue. The leaders invite them to speak. Paul reviews Israelite history from life in Egypt to King David. He introduces Jesus as a descendant of David brought to Israel by God. He said that his team came to town to bring the message of salvation. He recounts the story of Jesus' death and resurrection. He quotes from the Septuagintto assert that Jesus was the promised Christos who brought them forgiveness for their sins. Both the Jews and the 'God-fearing' Gentiles invited them to talk more next Sabbath. At that time almost the whole city gathered. This upset some influential Jews who spoke against them. Paul used the occasion to announce a change in his mission which from then on would be to the Gentiles. [Ac 13:13–48]

Antioch served as a major Christian center for Paul's evangelizing.

Second missionary journey

Saint Paul delivering the Areopagus sermon in Athens, by Raphael, 1515. This sermon addressed early issues in Christology. Paul leaves for his second missionary journey from Jerusalem, in late Autumn 49, after the meeting of the Council of Jerusalem where the circumcision question was debated. On their trip around the Mediterranean sea, Paul and his companion Barnabas stopped in Antioch where they had a sharp argument about taking John Mark with them on their trips. The book of Acts said that John Mark had left them in a previous trip and gone home. Unable to resolve the dispute, Paul and Barnabas decided to separate; Barnabas took John Mark with him, while Silas joined Paul. Paul and Silas initially visited Tarsus (Paul's birthplace), Derbe and Lystra. In Lystra, they met Timothy, a disciple who was spoken well of, and decided to take...
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